Chicago Client Conference

June 25 - 26  | Chicago, IL

Event Highlights & Key Learnings

When it comes to turning strategy into action and results, the traditional approach to leadership development lacks power and efficacy. But what is it, then, that makes a leader “great”? How do you find “great” leaders? What do “great” leaders do to set themselves and their companies apart?

Leaders from 37 world-class companies joined BTS in Chicago on June 25 and 26 to answer these questions, discuss leadership development and explore game-changing points of view that are redefining how organizations define, assess, experience and execute “great ” leadership.

Held at the Trump Hotel, with a dinner at the Shedd Aquarium, the event featured keynote presentations from senior executives at Gannett Broadcasting, Microsoft and Schindler, as well as insights from BTS senior leaders and interactive activities for all participants.

The conference focused on the following BTS and client sessions:

Disrupting Traditional Leadership Development

Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going

How do you define leader expectations? How do you identify your best leaders? How do you develop “great” leaders and how do you ensure “great” leadership on the job? Engaging in deep dialogue with leaders from Fortune 500 companies, we explored these critical questions, and with a front-row seat to our clients’ business goals, strategic priorities and culture, we shared our unique perspective.

Sitting at the intersection of consulting and training, we have seen some leadership initiatives that boom with great impact and many others that bust, and we’ve considered what works, what doesn’t, the lessons learned, and the unique approaches driving results. Through that experience, we have identified the common culprits behind why most leadership development initiatives fall short. More importantly, at the event, we shared a new approach to help companies and their leaders achieve great performance and great execution.

What traditional leadership development approaches are we disrupting along the way?

  • End Goal: Moving from develop capabilities to accelerate time to readiness and high performance
  • Target Audiences: Shifting from leader level to critical roles and levels
  • Leader Expectations: Moving from leadership competencies and evolving to “great” mindset, behaviors and performance criteria
  • Assessment: Shifting from subjective and based on individual points of view to objective observations of thinking and actions, relative to “great”
  • Content: Moving from leadership-skills-centric to business-centric content: building strategy alignment and mindset and capability development in your context
  • Process: Shifting from training programs and measuring success at the end, to a development experience and measuring successful execution
  • Leadership is relentlessly contextual. Leaders must be able to think, act, and engage with employees, partners, and customers better than anyone else. Pushing towards more powerful leadership development, we believe organizations should look to and honor pockets of “great” leadership skills and behaviors internally. And we know that when companies “Define, Assess, Experience and Execute Great,” they can move the mean on leadership performance and execution.


The Conference Take-Away

Following the client presentations on defining, assessing, experiencing, and executing “great,” the conference wrapped up with interactive crowd-sourced videos on the conference experience and a summary of the key learnings from the past two days. Such experiences are only as effective as the people in the room – we thank everybody who attended for making it a priority to collaborate, learn, and contribute to the development of your organization and colleagues.


BTS Event: Disrupting Traditional Leadership Development »

September 11
Dallas, TX


Dinner and some ichthyology at the Shedd Aquarium.


How to Elevate Leadership Talent and Drive High Performance

A leading global provider of elevators and escalators with more than 54,000 employees around the globe, Schindler recognizes the need for alignment and development amongst its leaders and throughout the workforce. Working with BTS, Schindler targeted engineers, sales representatives and superintendents in an effort to improve mindset, capabilities, and performance across all levels. By first defining what “great” means to Schindler and identifying the source of the gap between superior performance and existing norms, BTS and Schindler worked to move the mean through:

  • Focused individual development
  • Focused cohort development
  • Focused selection and hiring, using online simulations and tailored for each division
  • Improved on-boarding processes

While Schindler openly addresses the challenge of maintaining alignment throughout a multinational company, the “pull” from the organization and the tangible results seen throughout the critical success factors proved the power of alignment and development and reiterated the importance of defining and assessing “great.”

BTS Leadership Development


Reinventing Leadership in a Changing Environment

In the constantly shifting technology industry, innovation dictates success. For Microsoft’s leaders, this necessity for constant innovation means that they have to learn to do things differently. After working with BTS, Microsoft pinpointed specific areas in which to target these efforts:

  • Multiplying focus and impact with customers and consumers
  • Enabling and leading marketplace shifts
  • Driving growth and profitability across a diverse portfolio
  • Accelerating transformation
  • Role modeling the future

      In order to go about implementing these changes, BTS designed learning initiatives for Microsoft to experience “great” that embedded in-the-moment digital analytics, customization and experiential design. Through such experiences, Microsoft learned to build the capabilities of senior and high potential leaders, engage middle managers, and enable the next generation of hires through giving all involved the toolset, mindset, and skillset needed to accelerate transformation.

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